7 Benefits of Co-Treating in an Aquatic Setting
Therapy in a rehabilitation setting is often comprised of a team consisting of physical, occupational and speech therapists. The purpose of these disciplines and rehabilitation teams is to provide care to individuals whose lives have been affected by disease, injury, or disability, or have found themselves having physical challenges with daily life. These therapists help individuals from birth to death with their impairments often including difficulties with pain, movement, mobility, bathing, dressing, cooking, speaking, eating and processing or thinking through a task. Since all of these daily life activities are connected, it is common for the rehabilitation team to have a similar focus or overlapping goals to help the client reach their maximum potential.
There are always benefits when teams work together and that can also be said for the rehabilitation team. Co-treatments are when two clinicians, each from a different discipline, treat one patient at the same time with different treatment techniques or goals. This allows two skilled therapists to both provide high levels of care at the same time and each therapist can bill for the skills and treatment they contributed during the session. Co-treatments on land have been a standard intervention in therapy for as far back as many of us can remember. Now that therapists have access to aquatic therapy, co-treatments in water are creating even greater opportunities for patient success and satisfaction. There are a few reasons why co-treating in an aquatic setting has added benefits:
- Increased safety for lower-functioning individuals. Water makes it easier for the therapist to manage these patients, which decreases the risk of patient or staff injury.
- Therapists can gain confidence and provide better treatment options by obtaining an increased understanding of their patient’s ability in the water.
- Due to the added support of water and safe environment, therapists can challenge their patients more intensely than on land.
- More consistent participation with aquatic therapy due to the decrease in pain and increased enjoyment during the treatment session.
- Warm water increases the range of motion therapists can promote both actively and passively.
- Therapists can achieve positioning with greater ease and comfort for the patient.
- Research that has shown an increase in mental clarity with water immersion has created greater opportunities for occupational and speech therapists to work on cognitive treatments and processing through aquatic therapy.
Co-treatments have certainly created the opportunity for the rehabilitation team to have a patient-centered approach to treating individuals needing therapy services. Therapists and patients alike are reaping the benefits achieved with these team approaches. Continual medical advancements, such as new technology and increased knowledge in treatment options like aquatic therapy, are added benefits that rehab teams are implementing to continue to offer the highest quality of treatments.